Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bees make money. But in honey?

Beehive populations crash and burn in the US, with worrying repercussions. Almonds may be one of the culprits as US beekepers earn more pollinating crops than making honey:

California’s almond crop, by far the biggest in the world, now draws more than half of the country’s bee colonies in February. The crop has been both a boon to commercial beekeeping and a burden, as pressure mounts for the industry to fill growing demand. Now spread over 580,000 acres stretched across 300 miles of California’s Central Valley, the crop is expected to grow to 680,000 acres by 2010.
Beekeepers now earn many times more renting their bees out to pollinate crops than in producing honey. Two years ago a lack of bees for the California almond crop caused bee rental prices to jump, drawing beekeepers from the East Coast.

Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Keepers in Peril: (registration-free link) NYT

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